Review Summary: Boring, dull, uninspired, the only solo rap album to date from Mike Shinoda is a sad case of potential squandered on a waste of time.
Following the release of two captivating albums, American nu-metal/rock act Linkin Park has steadily gone down hill, but one of their two vocalists has at least taken a shot at redeeming himself. Mike Shinoda, under the name of Fort Minor, released his debut studio album The Rising Tied, with the intention of showcasing his rap abilities outside of the heavier band he is most often associated, and this release was met with positive reviews and a fair amount of attention. Unfortunately, whereas this was once a fun album that provided a break for Linkin Park fans frustrated with the rapid decline of the band, this album definitely does not hold up very well.
Released in 2005, The Rising Tied is sixteen tracks long and in that time it has very little merit to it whatsoever. For the most part, this is a generic and uninspired release flooded with dull lyricism and an influx of inappropriate guest appearances who do nothing whatsoever to improve their respective songs. Despite these negative words, the album actually opens with one of its strongest numbers. Preceded by a brief introductory track, Remember The Name kicks things off with a violin in the introduction before breezing through numerous tightly written verses and some of the best guest work on the album. Mike Shinoda's lyrics are as well crafted as can be found on this album, and the chorus is an infectious one which you may find yourself occasionally speaking out loud as it is possibly the only one worth replaying.
From here on out, this album is almost nothing but a cesspit of trash dragged straight from the bowels of the deepest and murkiest swamp imaginable. Whereas Mike's rapped verses used to be interesting on Linkin Park albums, he fails to make an impact on each of these tracks. Right Now has some of the most stereotypical rap flows out there with weak lines that feel as though Mike just jotted out anything he could in the space of five minutes before recording, and the piano piece feels straight out of his band's more mellow tracks such as In The End. High Road is another track that falls victim to feeling repetitive and unenjoyable, with some badly written lyrics, although at least the instrumental serves as a memorable aspect. Aside from this, Kenji is the only other remotely decent work on this album, and even this track doesn't really stick out among the influx of rap music out there.
Sadly, Fort Minor's only release to date fails to show off what made Mike so interesting on Linkin Park albums, with freshman lyricism and uninspired beats. The repetition throughout this album is its main killer, as well as the fact that Shinoda really is not a great story-teller. Sorry, Mike fans, stick to Linkin Park's early works.